Falling for pumpkins – Boomers share their family recipes

pumpkin pics_3793-By Jennifer Ruple

What is it about pumpkins that makes them so irresistible? Is it that they can be carved with silly faces? Is it their vibrant colors that warm up our doorsteps? Perhaps it’s their creamy and versatile center that can be transformed into some of the yummiest desserts of the season. In celebration of October and the kickoff of autumn, three Baby Boomers share their favorite family pumpkin dessert recipes. Happy fall from their kitchens to yours.




Pumpkin Pie

Submitted by Dave Ray of Toledo, Ohio

DAVE RAY_2103 RGB “It’s all about the crust for me. I attempted to make my first pie around age 11. I thought everything was going well until my sister came in and asked me how many times I rolled out the crust. I told her 5 to 7 times. She told me not to even bother with it, and just throw it away. She then informed me that the crust would be chewy and nasty because I rolled it too much. Since then, it has become almost my life’s mission to make the perfect crust.” – Dave Ray.




1 cup flour

¼ teaspoon salt

½ cup butter-flavored shortening or ½ cup unsalted butter

3 tablespoons ice cold water

In a medium bowl, place flour, salt and shortening. Using a pastry knife, cut shortening into flour and salt until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add water one tablespoon at a time. Using your fingers like a rake, rake the water into the dough. Turn dough out onto wax paper and form into a flat ball. Place another sheet of wax paper over and roll out to desired size. Place in pie pan immediately.


¾ cup sugar

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon ginger

¼ teaspoon nutmeg

2 eggs 1

5 ounces of pumpkin

12 ounces concentrated evaporated milk

In a small bowl, mix sugar, salt, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. In a large bowl, beat eggs. Stir in pumpkin and spice mixture. Gradually add evaporated milk. To prevent spillage, place pie shell on oven rack, then pour in filling. Bake at 425 F for 15 minutes. Drop temperature to 350 F and bake 40 minutes more or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Blanche’s Pumpkin Delight

suzie_2117 RGB

Submitted by Suzy Nichol of Holland, Ohio

This layered treat was a go-to recipe for Blanche Knudson of Marseilles, Ill.

“My mom started making it for Thanksgiving, but everyone loved it so much that she made it every time we’d visit.”

– Suzy Nichol


1 ⅓ cups unsifted flour

1 ⅓ sticks margarine

½ cup chopped pecans or walnuts

Layer 1

1 cup confectioner’s sugar

8-ounce package lite cream cheese, softened

1 cup lite Cool Whip

Blend ingredients together and spread over crust.


Pumpkin Chiffon Pie

Submitted by Christy Gordon of Maumee, Ohio CHRISTY_2111

“What I like about this pie is that it’s airy and has a light pumpkin taste. My mom, Beverly Kline, made this pie for about 45 years, and now I am the one who makes it every year for Thanksgiving.”

– Christy Gordon


1 ⅓ cup sifted flour

½ teaspoon salt

½ cup Crisco

3 tablespoons ice cold water

In a medium bowl, mix flour and salt. Blend in Crisco with a pastry cutter until dough forms pea-size pieces. Sprinkle dough with one tablespoon of water at a time, mixing until it becomes moist. Roll out dough onto a floured surface. Place dough in pie dish and trim edges. Bake at 425 F for 10-15 minutes.


1 envelope Knox gelatin

1 ½ cups pumpkin

3 egg yolks (reserve whites for final step)

¾ cup brown sugar

½ cup milk

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Dissolve gelatin in ¼ cup water. Set aside. In a medium saucepan, combine remaining ingredients and cook over medium heat. After the mixture begins to bubble, stir in gelatin. Cool to room temperature. Beat egg whites with a little salt and ¼ cup of sugar gradually until mixture becomes stiff. Fold pumpkin mixture into egg whites. Pour into pie crust. Refrigerate until firm. Top with whipped cream.